Could net-free fishing zones be introduced on the Coast?

STATE Labor members are at odds on whether net-free fishing zones could be introduced on the Fraser Coast.

Submissions will soon be called for the first review of the Great Sandy Marine Park since 2006.

The wide-ranging review will analyse marine park zones which determine what activities can be undertaken in specific areas.

Last year the Palaszczuk Government's implementation of net-free zones in northern Queensland saw strong opposition including a petition with 20,162 signatures.

Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Minister Leanne Donaldson said the Fraser Coast was not on the net-free agenda.

"Our commitment was to create three net-free fishing zones in Cairns, Mackay and the Capricorn Coast to boost tourism," she said.

"We also said we would explore with stakeholders how a commercial net-free fishing area might be developed in Moreton Bay.

"We are not considering a proposal introduce a net-free zone in the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park or any other area at this time."

But Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders said net-free zones would be discussed during the review and may be implemented after consultation.

"That's subject to the reviews and the feedback we get from the community," he said.

"Every stakeholder should have a right to put their views forward."

Putting a strong view forward is Fraser Coast Fishing Alliance president Scott Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell is pushing the Labor Government to "correct our marine park" and remove zoning that allows commercial boats to net.

"The FCFA is clearly calling to have the Great Sandy designated area removed," he said.

"Correcting the marine park will not stop the supply of scallops, mud crabs, prawns and it will not stop the supply of reef fish."

Queensland Seafood Association liason officer Elaine Lewthwaite said the commercial and recreational fishers could operate in one location together.

"There is commercial fishing in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park working in harmony," she said.

"It's quite compatible- it's sustainable - so why wouldn't it be in this area?

"Everybody has a right to enjoy the resources whether it be to buy fish off us, catch a fish for themselves or simply enjoy the marine environment."

As a part of the review Mr Mitchell said the FCFA "would openly support the declaration of the Mary River as a full net-free zone".

Mr Mitchell spruiked the importance of recreational fishing on the Coast.

"We are the biggest biosphere in the world, we are a RAMSAR wetland side, we have more fish diversity than the

Great Barrier Reef and we have a World Heritage-listed area," he said.

"The Fraser Coast will have the opportunity to become a fishing mecca worth significantly more as a net-free zone."

Labor's Federal candidate for Wide Bay Lucy Stanton also called for more fish habitat protection which annoyed Mr Saunders.

"I think the Federal candidate should concentrate on the health cuts and the education cuts from Turnbull Government rather than fisheries management which is a matter for the state government," Mr Saunders said.
 



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